REMEMBERING  NINOY
 
MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2006 (STAR) SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico - It’s Aug. 22, the day after the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. or Ninoy at the then Manila International Airport (MIA). Various activities marked the commemoration of that infamous Sunday in August, 1983, when Ninoy arrived in Manila, against all odds, on a mission of peace. As early as Saturday evening, the lamp posts in the whole length of Quezon Avenue, from Mabuhay Rotonda to the Elliptical Circle, and España, were festooned by yellow ribbons, the color of the protest movement during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.

It will be recalled that a few minutes after Ninoy’s China Air Lines flight from Taipei touched down in Manila around 1 p.m., he was felled by the bullet of an assassin that the Marcos regime identified as Rolando Galman from Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. Galman was, by some miracle, able to slip past the super tight security cordon of more than 1,000 personnel established by Marcos’s security apparatus supposedly to protect Ninoy. Galman was subsequently gunned down by Ninoy’s security escorts who fired more than a dozen bullets to make sure Galman would be permanently silenced.

When democracy was restored after the People Power revolution at EDSA from Feb. 22 to 25, 1986, Ninoy’s security escorts and their superiors were convicted of the slaying of Ninoy and incarcerated at the national penitentiary. The conclusion was Galman was just a fall guy.

I was particularly happy that Ninoy’s assassination continues to be remembered and that Aug. 21 is now one of the country’s legal holidays. We must never forget the sacrifices made by our heroes so we may live as free human beings. That is the reason for anniversaries and commemorations — so that we may never forget and become apathetic.

In a great sense, Ninoy’s execution at the then MIA was an arrogant and brazen display of the lack of sportspersonship by players in the political contest.

It is often said that sports develops character. In this particular instance however of political assassination, the contest revealed the real character of some of the players. The character traits revealed by those who ordered Ninoy’s execution were intolerance for dissent, lack of respect for the rights of others, disdain for human life and greed for power and money. These are character traits that are not found in authentic and trustworthy sports people.

* * *

Over the past several days, I have had the chance to talk to some Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) insiders about the progress of the updating of the sports master plan that was prepared during my time at the PSC. I was told that guidelines on what data to provide to the POC were given to the different sports stakeholders and deadlines for the submission of the information were also set.

Ideally, as pointed out in the existing plan, sports in general and the National Sports Associations (NSAs) in particular, should be provided a certain sum of funds for the period to the designated games. In return for these funds invested in that particular sports, the NSA concerned will undertake, by contract, to deliver certain programs within its sport, including athlete preparation and competition, development and coaching strategies, commercial fund raising and so on.

An immediate priority which I assume is being attended to by the NSAs with the help of the PSC is targeting individual athletes in terms of their preparation for the Doha Asian Games in December this year. These athletes should be provided, within available resources, with a coach and competition program aimed at maximizing their performance in the Asian Games.

As the existing plan also points out, the coaching and competition program should be a requirement for all NSAs which should start immediately on the conclusion of each Southeast Asian Games to provide a two-year rolling cycle to the next Games as well as factoring in the Asian Games and, where relevant, the Olympics.

Needless to say, in choosing athletes who will represent the country, no one should be chosen simply on past performance. The team or athlete should be chosen on the basis of medal potential as the first criterion and competition experience for promising young athletes as the second criterion.

A priority for each sport is to ensure that they all have full time national coaches who are going to implement each NSAs strategic plan. Some of these coaches may have to come from overseas. In the latter case, and again, within available resources, each should have a Filipino understudy who should be trained to eventually take the place of the international coach. Each of the NSAs should also have a formal coach accreditation system such as those used by the Australian Coaching Council.

It cannot be overemphasized that each NSA must have a target number of coaches to be accredited by their sport over the planning time frame. Having a coaches’ pool is indispensable and fundamental to the elite and mass based sports programs. The greatest resource the country has is its 83 million people. Because of the lack of trained people, most sports only operate within Metro Manila and major urban areas in some provinces. Programs do not probably reach more than 25 percent of the population.

The Philippine Institute of Sports (PHILSPORTS) assumes greater significance because of the need to create a network of coaches’ pools. The national coach of each sport should be, as prescribed by the existing plan, "resident" on the Institute, and, as far as practicable, the athletes should live in the PHILSPORTS campus.

However, if we want PHILSPORTS to be effective, we would also need to upgrade our sports sciences and sports medicine services and national sports information technology. These essential initiatives, which are support services, require a separate program that should have a separate section in the updated plan.

LA UNION:  RP-U.S.  TRAINING  (CARAT) 2006  ENDS

(STAR) Manila, August 22, 2006 - By Jun Elias - The week-long activities for the RP-US Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) Exercise 2006 ended here yesterday morning.

Aside from military exercises, humanitarian missions were also conducted by the joint forces in depressed villages in La Union.

Navy Captain Orwen Cortez, Carat Task Force Commander, told The STAR that this year’s exercises was very successful because it improved the combat readiness of the Philippine Navy.

"It was a very successful event for us and the US Navy contingent because we’re able to attain our objectives in improving our command and control tactics, logistics procedure, and our maritime security capabilities," Cortez said.

He added that participants from both sides have learned a lot about operations and the experience strengthened the ties between the Filipinos and the Americans.

"We have learned so much from them (US soldiers) and they also learned from us, particularly our environment, culture, and how we do things here in the Philippines. We have a very good relationship. This is a manifestation of the commitment of support of the US government to the Philippines," Cortez said.

Capt. Vicente Agdamag, commander of the Naval Forces North, who was the guest speaker during the culmination program held at the Navy yard here, said the RP-US Carat 2006 has truly developed the Navy’s capabilities in maritime security and has helped indigents in La Union.

"I acknowledge the various activities you have undergone to develop our Navy’s maritime security capabilities, which is very crucial to naval operations," Agdamag told the soldiers during the program.

Ensign Michael Buraga, director of Carat’s public affairs, told The STAR that there are more than 1,000 indigents given medical assistance in Dulao, Aringay, La Union and in Barangay San Agustin this city.

Two classrooms worth P1.2 million were built in Mabanengbeng Elementary School in Bacnotan town and around 1,400 dogs were vaccinated and dewormed along the coastal barangays of San Fernando.

Captain Al Collins, commander of the US Navy Destroyer Squadron, headed the US contingent who attended the closing program here. He commended their Filipino counterparts and thanked the people’s hospitality.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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